Mana­tee elec­tions of­fice pre­par­ing for pos­si­bil­ity of re­count

The Bradenton Herald - - Stay Connected - BY SARA NEALEIGH snealeigh@braden­ton.com

Elec­tion night is over, but as votes con­tinue to be counted, the pos­si­bil­ity of a statewide re­count looms and there are still a cou­ple hun­dred bal­lots to count in Mana­tee County.

Thurs­day, Sec­re­tary of State Ken Det­zner told county elec­tion su­per­vi­sors in a con­fer­ence call to plan for as many as three statewide re­counts, ac­cord­ing to the Her­ald/Times Tal­la­has­see Bureau.

Mana­tee County Su­per­vi­sor of Elec­tions Mike Ben­nett said he has made plans, and would be ready to start a pos­si­ble re­count by 2 p.m. Sun­day.

“We are as­sum­ing it’s go­ing to hap­pen,” Ben­nett said. “We plan to meet Sun­day and we will be there start­ing at 8 a.m. Mon­day.”

The re­count process can take days. Ben­nett said he and his staff are sched­ul­ing for it all the way through nearly the end of next week.

Of­fi­cial re­sults will be cer­ti­fied by the state by Nov. 20.

He added that process would in­clud­ing set­ting up, test­ing, and run­ning equip­ment and then set­ting it up for the of­fi­cial re­count.

There were a to­tal of 163,484 votes cast in Mana­tee County by mail, in early vot­ing and on Elec­tion Day, a 66.7 per­cent turnout, ac­cord­ing to the Su­per­vi­sor of Elec­tions Of­fice web­site. There are 246,316 reg­is­tered vot­ers in Mana­tee County.

Ben­nett said there are ap­prox­i­mately 280 pro­vi­sional bal­lots that were re­viewed at 5 p.m. Thurs­day and a “small num­ber” of over­seas or mil­i­tary bal­lots still to count.

All other votes, he said, were counted.

As of Thurs­day morn­ing, the Her­ald/Times Tal­la­has­see Bureau re­ported Gov. Rick Scott led Sen. Bill Nel­son in the race for a U.S. Se­nate seat by 21,899 votes or .26 per­cent of 8.2 mil­lion bal­lots cast, while Matt Cald­well led Nikki Fried in the agri­cul­ture com­mis­sioner race by 4,109 votes or .06 per­cent, and Ron DeSan­tis led An­drew Gil­lum by 42,938 or .52 per­cent for gov­er­nor, cit­ing state Di­vi­sion of Elec­tions web site.

If the mar­gin in a statewide race is less than 0.5 per­cent, Det­zner is re­quired to or­der a ma­chine re­count.

County can­vass­ing boards must re­port their first un­of­fi­cial re­turns to the state by noon Satur­day, with the sec­ond round of un­of­fi­cial re­turns due on Nov. 15 if a ma­chine re­count is or­dered.

Vot­ers who filled out a pro­vi­sional bal­lot can check its sta­tus on the Mana­tee County Su­per­vi­sor of Elec­tions Of­fice web­site us­ing the bal­lot ID.

Those who voted by mail can also track and check their bal­lot’s sta­tus on the Su­per­vi­sor of Elec­tions Of­fice web­site.

A com­plete sum­mary of all Florida re­count pro­ce­dures can be found here.

Ac­cord­ing to the Her­ald/Times Tal­la­has­see Bureau, cam­paigns Wed­nes­day de­manded de­tails on “all vot­ers who cast pro­vi­sional bal­lots Tues­day,” but county elec­tion su­per­vi­sors re­jected their re­quests say­ing it vi­o­lated state law.

Ben­nett said no can­di­dates, or any­one from their cam­paigns, has reached out to his of­fice for in­for­ma­tion on pro­vi­sional bal­lots; how­ever, the Demo­cratic and Repub­li­can par­ties have reached out.

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